Rome blanketed in snow as Europe freezes

Paula Duffy's picture

The largest snow storm to hit Rome in the past 24 years halted traffic and surprised natives as well as tourists. Local airports suspended operations for a time.

Europe is being blanketed with snow and enduring frigid temperatures that are expected to last for some time.

More than 11,000 Serbs are reportedly trapped in their villages and Britain is expected to experience the coldest day of the winter on Saturday, as the continent suffers through a heavy dose of winter weather.

Reuters reported that the last snowfall in Rome was a light dusting that occurred in 2005, but today's weather event required adjustments in travel and holiday plans.

After it ended there was slush in the streets and a total accumulation of less than two inches of the frozen stuff. But, that was enough to provide rare photos for anyone in the area of the Roman Coliseum.

Visitors were kept away from the ancient arena as well as the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

In Britain, up to six inches of snow is expected this weekend as well as an accumulation of ice when it is all said and done. The Telegraph reported on what is expected on the temperature front.

Forecasters predict Saturday to be the coldest day of winter, with -12C (10 degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures due in the early hours feeling like -15C ( 5 degrees Fahrenheit) due to bitter windchill.

European cities are reporting low temperatures across the board with -14C in Berlin, -17Cin Prague, -8C in Paris, -13C in Stockholm and -20C in Warsaw. In Serbia, Ukraine and Poland all recorded fatalities as the mercury sank as low as -32.5C.

The most alarming news from the continent comes from Serbia where emergency crews are attempting to reach more than 6,000 homes in remote villages. A state of emergency has been declared for 14 cities in the country.

In nearby Bosnia, citizens are receiving packages of emergency provisions delivered by helicopter. In the Ukraine, there are reports that more than 60 people have been killed by the conditions.

Poland has counted 23 fatalities as a result of the frigid temperatures and in Romania, the government has ordered army vehicles to attempt a rescue of motorists trapped under snow drifts that reach 10 feet.

Bulgaria reported its coldest temperatures in a century and there is not a lot of good news about when the weather will break. Most reports are for the cold and frigid conditions to continue through next week.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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